Rock Monster

(MathPickle, 2011)

This game was in MathPickle purgatory until Joli Barker (2013 TCEA Classroom Teacher of the Year) requested that I put it back up. Although I like the underlying idea, I wasn’t sure the current version belonged in MathPickle’s repertoire.

Joli Barker disagrees and thinks it is good enough 😉

I’d like other people’s opinions.

Download the cards and game board here.

PS. Message from Stephanie Englehaupt:

I like it. I agree with Joli Barker. My kinders LOVE this game. Helps reinforce the exchanging after collecting ten. My team suggested I make it linear, but I said no it would confuse the littles, as it would reinforce hundred to ones. They love playing this game. I added a recording sheet for them to write down the equations at each of the creature places to practice writing numbers and equations. After 4 equations, they earn an extra block to place on their mat or on the opponents. I accidentally referred to the game as Rock Monster and it stuck with the Kinders.

Stephanie – I like the name “Rock Monster” much more than “Rock Paper Scissors Carrying Game.”

Men are liars. We’ll lie about lying if we have to. I’m an algebra liar. I figure two good lies make a positive.

Tim Allen

Standards for Mathematical Practice

MathPickle puzzle and game designs engage a wide spectrum of student abilities while targeting the following Standards for Mathematical Practice:

MP1 Toughen up!

Students develop grit and resiliency in the face of nasty, thorny problems. It is the most sought after skill for our students.

MP2 Think abstractly!

Students take problems and reformat them mathematically. This is helpful because mathematics lets them use powerful operations like addition.

MP3 Work together!

Students discuss their strategies to collaboratively solve a problem and identify missteps in a failed solution. MathPickle recommends pairing up students for all its puzzles.

MP4 Model reality!

Students create a model that mimics the real world. Discoveries made by manipulating the model often hint at something in the real world.

MP5 Know the tools.

Students master the tools at their fingertips - whether it's a pencil or an online app. 

MP6 Be precise!

Students learn to communicate using precise terminology. MathPickle encourages students not only to use the precise terms of others, but to invent and rigorously define their own terms.

MP7 Be observant!

Students learn to identify patterns. This is one of the things that the human brain does very well. We sometimes even identify patterns that don't really exist 😉

MP8 Be lazy!?!

Students learn to seek for shortcuts. Why would you want to add the numbers one through a hundred if you can find an easier way to do it?


Please use MathPickle in your classrooms. If you have improvements to make, please contact me. I'll give you credit and kudos 😉 For a free poster of MathPickle's ideas on elementary math education go here.

Gordon Hamilton

(MMath, PhD)